Wednesday, August 27, 2008

if a song is sung in the forest...

does anybody hear?

my friend Bob told our writers' bloc one time that he writes songs for nobody but himself. doesn't consider the audience at all.

this was extremely interesting to me, as foreign notions usually are. we were discussing the dangers of editing too early in the songwriting process, especially when influenced by the consideration of what an audience might think.

i agree with this in principle. editing should come very late in the process. i think of a song as a growing thing, which should be allowed to become itself, suggest its own structure, dart out in unanticipated directions, like a plant towards water, towards light. editing is necessary, and necessarily merciless, but it needs to wait until the thing has finished growing.

but i always have an audience in mind. most of my songs are gifts, things i want to share with specific friends, loved ones, or with groups of strangers i'm looking forward to meeting. i imagine them listening as the song is building in my heart, my head, my hands, my voice. i smile at the thought of their reactions, laughing at an inside joke or nodding at some universal truth i've managed to snag in a brilliant fleeting moment.

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